Released January 20, 1983
In 1983, one of the colossal releases of the 80’s dropped heavily like a bomb on Hiroshima. Even the title, “Pyromania” suggested this was going to be one of the hottest releases ever. It surely proved that Def Leppard were more than a just a fledgling NWOBHM act; releasing two metal friendly albums in the late 70’s. With this being their third venture, the band transitioned into a more radio-friendly approach – offering a platter of glam, metal and rock and thus creating a formula of successful releases for the next few decades to come.
Pyromania was the first to feature guitarist Phil Collen, after founding member Pete Willis was let go for excessive drinking midway through the recording process. The album was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange, helping the group shift their sound and ensuring a successful entry at #2 in the Billboard 200; following that with positions on the Canadian Charts at # 4 and # 5 on the UK Charts. The album received mostly positive reviews, despite a few notable journalists calling the album a step-back from what was previously recorded. Luckily, fans didn’t agree as the album sold over ten million copies in the US alone!
As for the songs on this release; all the tracks are fire-laden-emotionally charged numbers that are still played to this very day on the radio. The heavier numbers like “Rock, Rock (Till You Drop), “Stagefright” and “Die Hard the Hunter” will grab you by the balls – but the Top-40 hits like “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin’” have all been firmly cemented into the rock stream consciousness; forever becoming synonymous in the band’s live set-list. The melodic/heavy hooks are infused throughout the songs; helping to obtain major exposure on MTV; proving to be a massive success for the 80’s hard rock movement.
There’s not a bad song to be had here and the balance of heavy riffs with the synthesized sounds, was the perfect calling card for the newly improve Def Leppard. My favorite tracks are: “Action not Words”, “Comin, Under Fire”, Rock Rock (Till you Drop), “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin’”. Albums like this are hard to rate just given the mythical status they ascended to over the years, but if I’m ever going to give a perfect 10 then this is going to be it.